Monday, November 29, 2010

The Garage Life

After spending the last two winters doing pretty major car building projects - with the complete rebuild of the old Saxo over winter ‘08 then the building of the new Tigra last winter - we decided that this year we are going to slow down a bit and not do anything too major.   I’m racing in the Live Action Arena at the Autosport  Show so this means the car needs to be ready to roll in the middle of January rather than March.    I love the Autosport Show and have been every year for as long as I can remember.   Having the car on Haird’s stand last year when it was brand new was a bit of a dream come true, and to be given the chance to race there this year is cool and something I’m really looking forward to, although I have heard grip is limited to say the least in there!
The day after the last meeting at Hednesford we unloaded the car into the workshop and spent the next couple of evenings stripping off the wings and rear panels.    Ross has been helping as usual and I also managed to rope my friend Neil who has been staying with us (whilst building our new websites for work) to come out and clean all the tyres with the heat gun, ready to be stored somewhere warm till March.
It’s been quite a slow pace in the workshop if I’m honest, with just an hour here and there and none of the rush feeling that you get when working on the car during the months when racing is in full swing.   A lot of time has been spent just chatting or having a beer looking back at the highs and lows of last season.    The iPod speakers have managed to find their way out there too and Ross’s vast comedy collection is providing hours of entertainment as we work!
When the panels were removed the car was pushed outside and we set about it with a sponge, some soapy water and the pressure washer, and washed a year’s worth of grime off the chassis and running gear.   A couple of the panels needed minor repairs so I thought I’d put the composites skills I learnt at college to good use and attempt to sort them out.   This was a decision I regretted the next morning when I returned to the garage to admire my handiwork - only to find I had used some hardener that failed to harden!   Three days later when it was still tacky (tacky being a bit of an understatement) the heat gun was put into play and I spent at least half an hour before work, attempting to get the damn stuff to go hard.
Some of the panels were beyond repair and after a quick call to Mark at Boss Panels I had some new ones delivered to work the next day.   After spending two seasons really struggling to get panels for the Saxo, it’s great being able to make a call and get strong, well made panels - most of which are pre- drilled ready to fit - delivered straight to us.   The fact that Boss will repair the damaged ones is a great advantage too and I’m going to send all the damaged ones we’ve collected over the year back for refurbishing so we have some spares ready for next year.
Terry has the panels at the moment so they can be painted and I have ordered all the new stickers from Jay.    He is scheduled to come down on the 5th of Dec. to stick them on, so obviously the panels need to be painted and re-fitted by then.    I’ve said before but both Terry and Jay are brilliant at what they do and never fail to do what I think is an absolutely first class job when it comes to making the car look great.
Once the stickers are on, it’s a matter of changing the diff, after we have fitted the new pinion oil seal that Wayne Lee has sent down for us - cheers Wayne!   We need to build up some wheels to make a straight set (we seem to have had a lot of casualties in the wheel department this year) and find some old wets to use in the Live Action Arena.   Then all that’s left is a bit of elbow grease from the cleaning and polishing department!
In truth things are a little quiet at the moment.  In hindsight I should have started doing this earlier in the year when there was more than enough excitement to keep you riveted, but I’ll try and come up with something a bit more thrilling for next time, maybe a bit of a review from the last few meetings.   That’s if I ever stop itching from all the fibreglass dust!
Thanks again for reading.

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